Discerning God's Will

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Cancer detour
Seems like my wife and I have been on detours the last ten years, but in early February, we were put on the biggest detour of our lives. My wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Pardon me while I use the words “we and our” because in my family, cancer is never fought alone. When we hear ovarian cancer, we automatically thought the “silent killer.” We always heard of a high mortality rate because when it’s found, it’s usually too late and at a very late stage. We were very upset to the point of questioning God and being very angry at Him as to why He would do this to us. We would even quit going to church, which is something we would thought we never do since we volunteer at any church we belonged to (including when we lived in Louisville and attended SECC). However God had other plans for us. On March 10, my wife had what we though was going to be a exploratory surgery to see how bad the cancer spread. After 7.5 hours, the surgeon could not find anything else but the large cancerous mass on the ovary. The mass was removed along with a full hysterectomy. Nothing else was found and the doctor stage it was stage 1A meaning this was the best news we could hear. My wife is currently going through chemotherapy as a precaution but we feel this has been a modern day miracle for us. Because of this miracle we feel God wants us to be advocates for ovarian cancer awareness as well as advocating for getting your age appropriate check ups and screening. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭50‬:‭20‬ ‭NLT‬‬ https://ovarian.org
Todd Seales
Apr 24

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Detours for Development
Joseph was stripped of his coat of many colors, but, in the process, he was also stripped of his pride and entitlement, which will change the way he sees people and talks to people later in his life. Joseph going to be used by God to reach millions of people who are starving in the future, and right now, Joseph is learning for the first time what it's like to be really hungry as he's traveling to Egypt to be sold into slavery.  Some of us can look back on our lives and see the growth and development that takes place on these unexpected detours. You didn’t ask or choose to be on this detour, but it doesn't mean God's not going to use it. God is using these troubles as transportation to help you get to a place where he wanted you to be all along.  Detours are also used by God for protection. They protect us from danger. If you're on the road and you see a detour, sometimes it's to protect you from something that you can't see up ahead. The detour is there to protect you, but you might not ever really get to see that protection. God's will is this way to a degree, where we will never truly understand it on this side of eternity. There is this protective will of God that was taking place, while we're complaining about the detour that God is using to get us around the danger. You need is some faith that God is for you, he's not against you. God is with you. God is not silent. God might feel silent, but he's not absent.  Reflection/Discussion Question: What is a detour that you've experienced that you can now recognize as a way that God protected you?
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Divine Detours
When reflecting back on his life, Genesis 50:19-20 tells us, “But Joseph said to them [his brothers], ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.’” Joseph realizes that God brought him to this place on purpose. He has reframed his troubles and recognizes that his troubles were actually God's transportation to bring him to this particular place. How would that look like in your life? Joseph could have looked at the detours in his life and been filled with regret. He could have spent the rest of his life living with shame and guilt, because of his lack of wisdom when he was young. He could have spent the rest of his life on this detour, blaming himself for decisions he made when he was a young man and didn't know better. He could have looked at his detour and been filled with bitterness. He could have done that, but then he would have missed out on what God had for him.  Joseph never saw himself as a victim. Having the attitude of a victim makes it really difficult to reframe what God might be trying to do that's new and different. As long as you're a victim, you're not going to see your troubles as transportation; you're going to sit right where you are and feel sorry for yourself. Now, that doesn't mean there isn't a time to be sad or a time to grieve. It doesn't mean that you are not a victim. It means that at some point to align your life with God's will, you've got to reframe some of those things. You begin to see how God wants to use those detours to bring you to a good destination. God wants your trouble to become his transportation for a different destination.  Reflection/Discussion Question: When in your life has it been easy to be the victim instead of reframing your perspective to see how God was transporting you?
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Alignment with God's Will
There are three kinds of detours you can experience that we want to take a deeper look at. First, some detours are just life circumstances and are just part of living in this fallen world. Things such as a cancer diagnosis, a tree falling on the house after a storm, dealing with infertility, an unplanned pregnancy, or a tragic accident. Then there are other detours that are our own bad choices, such as an unhealthy relationship where you knew better, but it's taken you off course for a little while. Or it's an unguarded heart, where you’ve suddenly found yourself developing feelings for someone other than your spouse. Or it's one drink, but it turns into another relapse. It's a hasty investment and it means you’re never going to be able to retire. These detours are the things that we wish we could do over, but we can't and now we find ourselves on an unplanned, unexpected detour.  Another detour would be other people's decisions. This is what Joseph experienced in his life; that other people and the decisions they made run him off the road. These other people are not following God's will, but you just happen to be in the car with them and it affects you. One last detour would be God's plan. It's not a detour, but it certainly feels like one when you're in the middle of it. It was actually part of God's plan all along, but it wasn't your plan. When God's plan is different than your plan, you end up calling that a detour even though it's not a detour, but from your perspective, it can feel that way.  Reflection/Discussion Question: What types of detours do you feel that you experience most often?
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God's Silence
Moses, the writer of the book of Genesis, leaves something out of chapter 37. As we read it, it may not be obvious to us as modern-day Christians, but for a Jewish reader, it would have been really apparent what was missing from this chapter. God appears to be missing – there’s no mention of him. Not one time. God seems absent from what is going on in Joseph’s life when he is betrayed and sold into slavery. But in Genesis 39:2, we read, “The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.” This phrase, “The Lord was with Joseph”, ends up becoming a refrain for his life.  God’s silence during these moments in Joseph’s life should not be confused for absence. Just because it's not obvious what God’s doing, how he's working, or what path he has you on doesn't mean God doesn't have a master plan that he is working throughout your experiences and detours. When it comes to detours when we think through God's will, they often come unexpectedly and without warning. It's the very nature of them. You're driving along, things are going fine, and then suddenly you find yourself a detour that you didn’t intend to take. Most of us could tell stories in our life like that, where things seem to all be going accordingly to our plan until something unexpected takes you in a completely different direction than you anticipated. God may seem removed during these detours but he is always present and working his will through even the most difficult of detours. Reflection/Discussion Question: Describe a detour in life where you felt like God was absent and how you interpreted his silence.